Preparing Students for STEM Careers: The NRAO-EPSCoR Connection. Talk Outline: • The National Radio Astronomy Observatory • Overview of EPO programs • WV Governor’s School for Math and Science • Pulsar Search Collaboratory Founded 1956. Funded by the NSF. Provides state-of- the-art telescopes and support to astronomers world- wide. Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope The GBT is the NRAO’s newest instrument. World’s largest fully- steerable telescope. NRAO EPO Program Goals • Enlarge the pipeline of students ready to enter college and graduate with a degree in STEM (NAS, 2007). • Increase the number of well-qualified and highly effective STEM teachers in the classroom (NSB, 2007). • Involve students in research/inquiry-based science. • Increase public’s appreciation of STEM. EPO Programs at NRAO Program Funding Impact Teachers Summe r Institute s NSF (1987-2002) NASA ( 2003-pre se nt) >1000 te ache rs, 300K stude nts Re se arch Expe rie nce for Te ache rs NSF (2000-pre se nt), NASA (2005) 24 te ache rs to date . Chautauqua NSF, Schools, Fe e s (annual since 1989) > 600 profe ssors NEW: GLOBE State funding 20 te ache rs *** Pulsar Se arch Collaboratory NSF, EPSCoR launch in 2008-60 te ache rs, 1800 stude nts Students Fie ld Trips, Institute s programs are fre e 3500 in 2006, 2400 use d the 40 Foot High School M e ntorship fre e , 2-6 stude nts pe r ye ar, local ~40 high school stude nts GEAR UP Camp US De pt. of Education 60 high school stude nts (2004-2006) REU NSF 25 unde rgrads since 1991, many more ! *** WV Gov e rnor's School WV EPSCoR 60 stude nts/ye sr, ~180 to date *** Pulsar Se arch Collaboratory NSF, EPSCoR launch in 2008-60 te ache rs, 1800 stude nts Public Tour Program marke ting funds WV Tourism ~45,000 in 2006 StarQue st Star Party Fe e s 150-200 pe r ye ar ( 2004-2007) Socie ty of Amate urs Space is Fre e At le ast 1200 since 1985 Outreach M ountain Radio Astronomy show produce d by NRAO re ache s 10,000 pe ople , plus podcast Quie t Skie s NASA IDEAS grant will re ach 600+ pe r ye ar NRAO Ambassadors SARA, NRAO 1400 in 2006/2007 Cosmic Radio Show Corp. of Public Broadcasting launch in Octobe r 2007 West Virginia Governor’s School • Partnership with the National Youth Science Foundation. • 2-week residential program at NRAO. • 60 rising high-school freshman/year. Key Components •Research •Directed Studies •Whole Group challenges •Outdoor Activities •Carpe Diem! NATIONAL RADIO ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORY Research Problem You and your colleagues are from the Galactic Structure Scientific Institute. You have received observing time on the 40 foot radio telescope in order to investigate the galactic plane. The following questions may be used as a starting point for your research: 1. Can the plane of the galaxy be observed with the 40 foot? 2. From your data, what can you say about the nature of the radiation coming from the galactic plane? 3. How does the picture of the galactic plane change when continuum, spectral line data and optical data are compared. You are to design a set of questions and experiments that will allow you to accurately explore this region of the sky. A staff advisor will be available to help guide your research, however, generating questions and performing the required experiments to yield answers to the questions are your responsibility. At the end of your observing run your team will be asked to give an oral and written report to your colleagues and the observatory staff. The reports will contain a detailed outline of the steps taken to arrive at the presented results, as well as recommendations for future investigations. You are NOT expected to be finished with your research, but should tell us what you know based on what you did. Be prepared to defend your results during the question and answer session that will follow . Radio Astronomy Research at the 40 Foot and GBT Directed Studies Whole Group -Outdoor Activities Is it Working? Evaluation 1. Research Self-Assessment: The Research Self-Assessment is designed to assess the research attitudes, skills and confidence of GSMS students. • Pre/Post Likert Survey. • Gauges progress in self-esteem, confidence, ability to work with others, and knowledge of the value of scientific research. 2. Student Survey • Pre/Post Likert Instrument • Indicates changes in student’s attitudes toward science, knowledge of how science is done in the real world 3. GSMS Program Evaluation. • Post only. Open ended • Reveals additional information about positive and negative aspects of the program. Pre Post Item Item Description t-Test Prob. Mean Mean Total Score 79.08 84.87 -6.66 0.00 Q1 I’m comfortable using the telescope. 3.16 3.82 -5.91 0.00 Q2 I am scared. 3.25 3.25 -4.77 0.00 Q3 Don’t have the background needed. 2.71 3.45 -6.24 0.00 Q4 Teammates know more than I do. 2.91 3.22 -3.32 0.00 Q5 I am exhilarated. 2.91 3.20 -3.03 0.00 Q8 I really want to succeed. 3.62 3.89 -3.42 0.00 Q9 I’m afraid of making a fool of myself. 3.00 3.49 -3.79 0.00 Q10 I know how to answer a research problem 3.15 3.57 -4.54 0.00 Q11 I’ll be able to apply this research to other areas of science. 3.16 3.47 -3.20 0.00 Q12 My team won’t be able to get right answer. 3.42 3.73 -4.25 0.00 Q13 I don’t know if I can get it done. 2.96 3.62 -5.91 0.00 Q16 Scientists will help me when I need it. 3.38 3.56 -2.01 0.02 Q17 I feel like I don’t know anything. 3.29 3.58 -2.75 0.00 Q21 Afraid we won’t replicate results. 3.05 3.47 -3.94 0.00 Q23 Using the scientific method is essential 1.87 2.15 -2.22 0.02 Q24 I’m worried about getting project completed. 2.84 3.20 -3.03 0.00 Q25 I feel confident about doing research 3.16 3.56 -3.67 0.00 Q26 Getting the right answer is important 2.15 2.53 -2.81 0.00 RSA Results. N=109 2006 only. 2007 only. Pre Post Item Item Description t-Test Prob. Mean Mean Positive Results Total Score 86.47 93.18 -5.06 0.00 Q4 Being a scientist would be fun 2.85 3.05 -2.03 0.02 Q8 I really want to succeed 3.37 3.54 -1.92 0.03 Q9 I solve problems 3.30 3.50 -2.03 0.02 Q10 I ask questions 3.11 3.33 -2.00 0.03 Q13 I use computers 3.33 3.50 -1.76 0.04 Q14 I use equipment 3.07 3.28 -1.90 0.03 Q15 I record my observations. 2.47 3.13 -5.35 0.00 Q16 I worry when results do not match those of my classmates 2.57 2.82 -1.86 0.03 Q17 I make graphs or charts using my results. 2.60 3.07 -4.44 0.00 Q18 Science is a list of facts 2.41 2.67 -2.04 0.02 Q20 Science is testing ideas. 1.85 3.13 -8.48 0.00 Q21 Science never changes 1.85 3.25 -8.47 0.00 Q27 Science is a way to prove theories 1.67 3.11 -9.26 0.00 Q28 Trial and Error is unscientific. 1.69 3.36 -9.60 0.00 Q29 What is known in science should be questioned. 2.95 3.16 -2.12 0.02 Student Survey N=109 2006 Results 2007 Results What’s next? Pulsar Search Collaboratory NSF ITEST: “…increase the opportunities for students and teachers to learn about, experience, and use information technologies within the context of STEM courses.” Pulsar Search Collaboratory – involves teachers and students in the search for new pulsars. – “Distributed community of researchers”. – Partnership between WVU physics, computer science, and education departments, WV EPSCoR, and NRAO. History: 1999 Higher Ed Symposium in Charleston. Offhand conversation with Bob Gillespie (aka master nagger) about “Pulsars at Home” with the soon to be finished GBT. The years go by. Annual nag by Bob. 2006: Two new faculty at WVU-- pulsar astronomers! 2007: summer shutdown pulsar survey-- over 100 TB of raw data. Program Elements – Summer residential program at NRAO: PSC Leaders • 12 day teacher institute (20) • 5 day experience for teachers and students (30) – Academic Year Activities • Whole class activities • School based Collaboratory Team (~5 students) • Activities Timing and implementation guided by Project Director • Online tools: Collaboratory – Capstone PSC seminar at WVU • Poster presentations, student and professional talks. • Tours and activities of WVU STEM schools. – Students can remain in PSC throughout high school career.
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